Morehead City officer injured in training exercise shooting out - WNCN: News, Weather

Morehead City officer injured in training exercise shooting out of hospital

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Officer Garrett Hardin Officer Garrett Hardin

A police officer shot in the chest during a training exercise is out of the hospital.
23-year-old Garrett Hardin has been released from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

The Morehead City Police officer was shot in the lung last Wednesday in the parking lot behind the police station.

The State Bureau of Investigations says Officer Marvin Willis pulled the trigger.

Morehead City Police are staying tight-lipped about how the shooting unfolded.

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The SBI has identified the other police officer involved in a training exercise shooting last week that critically wounded a fellow officer.

He’s identified as Officer Marvin Willis III.

Officer Garrett Hardin was injured after Willis shot him during a training exercise. Hardin’s aunt told 9 On Your Side that he wasn’t wearing a bullet-proof vest at the time of the incident and the bullet punctured his lung.

On Friday, Chief Wrenn Johnson of the Morehead City Police Department said she was taking responsibility for the incident.

"I am responsible for what happened. It's clear a mistake was made and we will take responsibility for it," said Johnson, adding that the department couldn't make any statement on the investigation, which she estimates will take 7-10 days.

Hardin is continuing to recover at Vidant Medical Center. He's listed in fair condition as of Monday morning.

An SBI representative says the investigation is ongoing.

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A Morehead City police officer is in a medically-induced coma after one of his fellow officers accidentally shot him during a training exercise.
As 23-year-old Garrett Hardin lies in a hospital bed at Vidant Medical Center, the community is rallying behind him and searching for answers.

Right now, the focus is on Officer Hardin.

A spokesperson at the police department told 9 On Your Side they won't be giving interviews until Hardin's condition improves and the SBI is through with their investigation.

There are still a lot of questions as to what went wrong during Wednesday's training exercise.

What is known is that another officer accidentally shot Hardin. His family says he was not wearing a bullet-proof vest.

It's unknown what penalties or charges, if any, the officer who shot the gun may be facing.

Hardin's aunt told 9 On Your Side he always wants to be a police officer and he was living out his dream.

There has been an overwhelming amount of support from the community.

9 On Your Side caught up with one of Hardin's friends who is an officer in the neighboring city of Beaufort.

"It was shocking. We heard the call initially, I was actually at work. We heard the call on the radio. Of course, automatically you're concerned when you hear an officer has been injured and then, of course, when I found out it was Garrett, it was even more shocking," said Det. Eric Sassano, Beaufort Police. "It's very unfortunate. So we're praying for you. We're hoping for a speedy recovery and a full recovery. [For] your family as well. Everybody right now is probably going through a very hard time. We're by your side and prayers are just with the Family and Garrett."

The outpouring of support for Garrett has been overwhelming. The family tells 9 On Your Side that the next 48 hours are going to be critical.

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A Morehead City police officer was accidentally shot during a routine training exercise.
It happened Wednesday morning behind the police department.

Investigators are staying very tight-lipped about this, but we do know it all happened around 9 this morning.

The officer's family has confirmed 23 year old Garrett Hardin, a patrol officer with the department, was accidentally shot in the chest this morning during a training exercise.
The family preferred not to go on camera, but tell us Hardin was not wearing a bullet-proof vest at the time and the bullet punctured his lung.
Hardin was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center. His family says he was coherent and talking at the time, but at last check he was out of surgery and listed in critical condition.
The SBI is still investigating, but earlier today Morehead City Mayor Jerry Jones says there was another officer involved.

"Our hearts are with you and our prayers are with you to both officers and their families. This is going to be a hard time for all of us. We are one big family we're going to get through it," said Jerry Jones, Morehead City mayor.

Police Chief Wrenn Johnson says this is one of the hardest things her department has had to go through, but she says they're staying strong.

The family says Hardin always wanted to be a police officer and they're hopeful. 

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